Six months into a pandemic that has affected so many facets of our lives, it’s clear that many Mainers are experiencing challenges that may have seemed unimaginable this time last year. For folks and communities that were struggling even before COVID, these challenges can seem — and too often are — overwhelming. If there was ever a crisis that required organizations, individuals and systems to pool their energy and resources and to form new partnerships and relationships, this is it. Like so many of you, we see examples of this all over the State of Maine — and we’ve had the good fortune to be able to support several, some of which are chronicled in our Fall 2020 Newsletter.
For example, with the start of the school year, new partnerships between schools and non-profits in Lewiston and Portland are helping families with the challenges of remote learning. To address the chronic challenge of elder abuse – which is likely to rise as a result of the pandemic – a range of stakeholders are aligning efforts in a new and exciting way to create a roadmap for dealing with this problem now and in the future. In Oxford County, parents, schools and other groups have joined together to build resiliency among students and address the negative impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences. This effort, called the Oxford County Resiliency Project is described in an interview with John T. Gorman Fellow Stephanie LeBlanc. And because preventing and mitigating Adverse Childhood Experiences is such an important priority for the Foundation, our Senior Program Associate Jennifer Beck offers an analysis of the topic and notes a number of programs and partnerships that are working hard to address this issue in Maine. Finally, our Direct Services Grantees across the state have been updating us on their efforts to help vulnerable Mainers, and in this newsletter you can get a sense of their hard work through this powerful photo essay.
Clearly, this current crisis has not yet let up. But importantly, neither have partners across the state who continue to rise to this challenge by working together to serve Mainers in need. As always, we salute them and promise to keep supporting them however we can. We hope you will as well. Please take heart and be safe.
President and CEO